Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism
Ayn Rand


Since their initial publication, Rand’s fictional works (AnthemThe Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged) have had a major impact on the intellectual scene. The underlying theme of her famous novels is her philosophy, a new morality – the ethics of rational self-interest – that offers a robust challenge to altruist-collectivist thought.

Known as Objectivism, her divisive philosophy holds human life – the life proper to a rational being – as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with man’s nature. In this series of essays, Rand asks why man needs morality in the first place, and arrives at an answer that redefines a new code of ethics based on the virtue of selfishness.

Paperback, 176pp
Signet Books (mass market edition), 1964
ISBN 9780451163936


AYN RAND (1905-1982), born Alisa Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg, Russia, emigrated to America with her family in January 1926, never to return to her native land. Her novel The Fountainhead was published in 1943 and eventually became a bestseller.

Still occasionally working as a screenwriter, Rand moved to New York City in 1951 and published Atlas Shrugged in 1957. Her novels espoused what came to be called Objectivism, a philosophy that champions capitalism and the pre-eminence of the individual.